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65,000 Invoices to be Processed Through EGS’ eInvoicing Solution Over the Next Year Council Targeting its Top 100 Suppliers, Which Account for 80% of Invoices Received

EGS Ltd, the UK’s largest and fastest growing e-Commerce Exchange for the public sector and its suppliers, today announced that Essex County Council has deployed its new flagship eInvoicing solution to every department within the Council. The Council expects to make cashable savings of £500K and a return on investment of just six to twelve months. Over the coming year, Essex County Council will process approximately 65,000 invoices through EGS’ new eInvoicing solution, and is currently targeting its top 100 suppliers, which account for eighty percent of invoices received. The Council has a gross annual budget of £2 billion and spending on third party organisations of £800 million.

Developed in partnership with a number of larger EGS local authority customers, including Essex County Council, EGS’ eInvoicing solution addresses the specific requirements of public sector organisations. Delivered as a simple to use web-based solution, EGS eInvoicing enables the secure exchange of invoices between suppliers and their customers through the EGS Exchange. This provides significant economies of scale for both parties and ensures that invalid invoices are rejected before reaching the buyer’s accounts payable process.

“In common with other local authorities, we have budget pressures resulting from changes in legislation, waste regulations, as well as changing demographics,” said Nicole Edbrooke, Purchase to Pay Manager for Essex County Council. “The Council was looking to make big
efficiency savings, and electronic invoicing had huge potential for streamlining efficiencies. We looked at various options in the market, including technology from a finance vendor, but it wasn’t a mature solution. We were already conducting all of our procurement electronically through EGS’ IDeA:marketplace, and most of our suppliers were already used to us buying from them electronically through the EGS system. EGS has a deep sector expertise of end-to-end procure to pay solutions in the public sector, and it was the next logical step for us to work with them on electronic invoicing. We found that it was a relatively quick win to make cashable benefits through automating the matching of invoices and eliminating the need for traditional re-keying of paper-based invoices. As each new supplier comes on board, we will reduce the budget of departments which will have less paper to process..”

Essex County Council was one of the early adopters of EGS’ IDeA:marketplace for electronic procurement, which it deployed back in 2003. Today, Essex County Council has deployed the EGS IDeA:marketplace to 2,500 users in every department, 10,000 suppliers and will process 100,000 purchase invoices worth approximately £400 million this year.

“One of the main benefits of EGS’ eInvoicing solution is its ease of use for suppliers,” continued Edbrooke. “It was important that the solution didn’t alienate smaller suppliers that may not have the necessary infrastructure or systems in place, as well as accommodating large suppliers. For example, we have a small sandwich shop that is able to log into the system and invoice us via a simple web browser. When an order is completed, the shop ‘flips’ the order into an invoice, adds their invoice details and submits it immediately, enabling them to invoice us electronically for free. Likewise, we have larger suppliers and high volume suppliers, where we are operating with a ‘no touch’ fully automated process. The workflow is incredibly flexible in how you set up roles and respond to capture spend.”

Launched on 7 November 2007 to both existing EGS customers and non customers, EGS’ eInvoicing solution is a proven and robust solution that integrates with other parts of the purchasing process, and can be integrated with an organisation’s accounts payable and accounts receivable systems, including seamless integration with back end ERP systems and all major financial management systems, such as Oracle and SAP. As supplier participation is critical to the success of an eInvoice implementation, EGS provides three different supplier options, two of which are at zero cost of the supplier. The company also provides a comprehensive engagement process for suppliers. Unlike other eInvoicing systems, EGS has been designed specifically for the public sector with input directly from public sector organisations. As a securely hosted external service, it requires no significant investment behind the firewall.

“We are currently conducting supplier adoption workshops,” said Edbrooke. “The system is very collaborative in nature, which means that once registered, suppliers don’t just trade with Essex County Council but can trade electronically with any other authority that have signed up for eInvoicing functionality. They can also register their interest to trade with us using eInvoicing, so it’s a combination of both us approaching suppliers about eInvoicing and responding to incoming requests.”

EGS is already the market leader for eCommerce services for the public sector, including its eProcurement service. The new eInvoicing solution is the result of months of development, close consultation and escalating customer demand to harness even greater efficiencies in the purchase-to-pay lifecycle.

“In terms of the purchase to pay lifecycle, the addition of eInvoicing is the last critical piece that completes the electronic cycle now,” concluded Edbrooke. “We’re now focusing on how to apply standard e-procurement principles to more complex and specialist areas of spend, such as adult social care.”

The whole of the UK public sector represents fifty percent of the total UK economy. According to the Office of Government Commerce, there is £110 billion of non-capital spend in the public sector per annum. The Government mandated that by 2010, the key 2,500 public sector bodies’ 50,000 suppliers will be trading electronically. Major savings are predicated on a collaborative environment. e-Procurement systems provide greater information to buying organisations on where to find the best deals, enabling them to take advantage of aggregated buying and reduce their costs by 35-40% through better intelligence.

About EGS Ltd

Founded in 2000, EGS Ltd is the UK’s leading supplier of e-Commerce Exchanges for the public sector. The company’s Shared Service e-Commerce solutions are used by over 150 public sector buying organisations. EGS operates a series of inter-locking regional and sector focused e-Commerce exchanges, providing services designed to automate and reduce the costs and timescales associated with the procurement to pay lifecycle. The services save considerable time and cost for both buying organisations and suppliers alike. EGS is the biggest and fastest growing e-Commerce Exchange for the UK public sector with more than 50% market share, making it the market leader in its field, and the most successful Exchange of its kind in Europe. With the largest Shared Services customer base, EGS has 150 public buying organisations linking with 30,000 of their chosen supplies and the main contracts from Public Purchasing Consortia. Electronic purchasing is taking off. EGS has seen a 500% growth in the use of its services in past two years alone, and expects the trend to continue.

For further information, please contact:

Kim Squire
Devonshire Marketing
Tel: 0870 7000 166

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